Illustration by Aly Miller

The Best Jewish Food in Atlanta

Bagels, pastrami, falafel, and more, all served with some classic Southern charm.

Atlanta hasn’t always been known for its Jewish food. Its fried chicken? Yes. Mac and cheese and pulled pork? Certainly. But matzah ball soup? Not so much.

Atlanta was once considered the Deep South, and Jewish culture was relegated to select suburbs (East Cobb, Sandy Springs) and the Orthodox neighborhood of Toco Hills. Outside the home and the synagogue, Jewish food was scarce. But in recent years, local celebrated chefs have begun to embrace their Jewish identities and share their roots with the foodie public.

In Atlanta today, you can find Israeli-style falafel and laffa (Middle Eastern flatbread) in exciting new food halls, matzah ball soup at award-winning delis, and New York-style bagels in the irreverent East Atlanta Village. From Downtown to Alpharetta, Old 4th Ward to the Westside, Atlantans are enjoying fluffy loaves of challah, mouth-watering Reuben sandwiches, and kosher shwarma. There are also Jewish-owned coffee shops, quirky lunch spots, as well as gourmet bakeries and markets. There’s even a growing urban farming renaissance underway, leading to some meaningful farm-to-table collaborations. Want to try new foods or celebrate your heritage with like-minded individuals? Atlanta has multiple Jewish festivals for that, too.

Even better, in Atlanta, you’ll get service with a smile — and a side of Southern hospitality. Everywhere you go, people will hold the door open and servers will “bless your heart.” Need menu guidance? Just ask! In Atlanta, you’ll never go hungry, we can promise you that.

Owned and operated since 1994, Art’s Bagels makes New York-style bagels and 15 varieties of cream cheese. There’s nova lox available and black and white cookies, too. Bagelicious makes the go-to bagel for the East Cobb part of Atlanta. BB’s (Bronx Bagels) is the place for giant bagels that closely resemble the gargantuan-sized varieties you can find in NYC, which have been hand-rolled by Anna and Eddie Siino since they moved south in 2007. Finally, there’s Emerald City Bagels, a modern bagel shop with a hip vibe and throwback decor. The standout bagels are the everything and rosemary sea salt varieties.

Art’s Bagels and More
3451 Cobb Pkwy.
Acworth, GA 30101
(770) 529-4567
Neighborhood: Acworth

Bagelicious
1255 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 509-9505
Neighborhood: East Cobb

BB’s
770 McFarland Pkwy.
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(770) 475-1818
Neighborhood: Alpharetta

Emerald City Bagels
1257-A Glenwood Ave. SE.
Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 343-3758
Neighborhood: East Atlanta

After working in European bakeries, pastry chef Alon Balshan immigrated to the U.S. from Israel; six years later, in 1992, he opened Alon’s Bakery & Market. Today, he sells fresh-made Old World breads, gourmet pastries, pizzas, and sandwiches, along with salads, cheeses, and wine. The company’s catering arm does full-service Jewish holiday meals. Rozina Bakehouse & Coffee is a bit newer to the scene, but the bakery provides challah to downtown Atlanta, an area of the city that had previously been a serious challah desert. Jerusalem Bakery capitalizes on its owners’ Mediterranean roots and serves spinach and feta pies, baklava, and harissa cake–a sweet, syrupy semolina dessert. Olde World Artisan Bread Co. makes fluffy challah and authentic rye bread, available at Heywood’s Provision Co. and select farmers markets.

Alon’s Bakery & Market
4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30346
(678) 397-1781
Neighborhood: Dunwoody

Alon’s Bakery & Market
1394 North Highland Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 872-6000
Neighborhood: Morningside

Rozina Bakehouse & Coffee
33 Hurt Plaza SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(440) 990-5828
Neighborhood: Downtown

Jerusalem Bakery
4150 Old Milton Pkwy #129
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 777-0193
Neighborhood: Alpharetta

Jerusalem Bakery
1175 Franklin Gateway SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 419-1666
Neighborhood: Marietta

Olde World Artisan Bread Company
Heywood’s Provision Co.
2145 Roswell Rd.
Suite 140
Marietta, GA 30062
(404) 717-7272
Neighborhood: Marietta

Photo credit Andrew Thomas Lee

There are two types of Jewish delis in Atlanta: the old school delis and The General Muir. Chef Todd Ginsberg created The General Muir in 2013 along with partners Jen Johnson, Ben Johnson, and Shelley Sweet. Named after the ship used to bring Jen Johnson’s family to America, The General Muir introduced local foodies to a Jewish deli of the future. Ginsberg’s house-made peppery pastrami gets most of the glory, but brunch offerings like smoked hash and schmaltz potatoes showcase his creativity. All the breads and pastries are made in-house in their bakery, TGM Bread. If a traditional, casual deli is more your speed, Goldbergs, a local chain, is particularly popular in the suburbs. They’ve been serving New York bagels and Reubens since 1972. Gruby’s NY Deli offers a smaller, curated menu with breakfast and lunch options like omelets, knishes, chopped liver, and corned beef.

Pro-tip: The General Muir hosts a playful Christmas Eve Chinese dinner that is not to be missed.

The General Muir
1540 Avenue Pl.
Atlanta, GA 30329
(678) 927-9131
Neighborhood: Emory Point

Goldbergs Fine Foods
3180 Avalon Blvd
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(770) 663-8555
Neighborhood: Alpharetta
Please note: Goldberg’s also has locations in The Battery, Buckhead, Dunwoody, East Cobb and Toco Hills.

Gruby’s NY Deli
860 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 236-0060
Neighborhood: Glenridge Connector / Northside Hospital area (near Perimeter)

First stop for Israeli fare in Atlanta is Pita Palace, voted best falafel by alt-weekly magazine Creative Loafing, where you can enjoy some of the best shwarma and kebabs in the city. Fast and inexpensive, Pita Palace — located in a nondescript strip mall — has been a Toco Hills staple for more than a decade. Yalla, located in Atlanta’s beloved Krog Street Market, is chef Todd Ginsberg’s take on Israeli street food. Diners choose from pita, laffa, bowls, and platters with numerous sauces and vegetable options. Here, sabich — fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and salad in a pita — takes center stage.

Two highly anticipated Israeli spots are also slated to open this year: Rina and Aziza. Created by Bellina Alimentari owner Tal Baum, who grew up in Israel, Rina will offer grab-and-go pitas, skewers, and falafel along the BeltLine, while Aziza celebrates Israeli food and culture with a refined dining experience.

Bonus: Follow Chef Julia Kesler on Instagram, @StopThinkChew, who is popping up with Israeli, Palestinian, and South African inspired breakfasts around town.

Pita Palace
1658 Lavista Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 781-7482
Neighborhood: Toco Hills
*This restaurant is kosher.

Yalla
99 Krog Street Market
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 506-9999
Neighborhood: Old 4th Ward

Rina
699 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
Neighborhood: Midtown
Opening fall, 2019

Aziza
1170 Howell Mill Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Neighborhood: West Midtown
Opening spring, 2019

When the clock strikes 12 noon, the line at Souper Jenny is already out the door. This locally owned soup-salad-sandwich spot is most famous for owner Jenny Levison’s “My Dad’s Turkey Chili.” The daily-changing menu of farm-fresh, Israeli-inspired eats has become popular enough to warrant four locations around the city. Breadwinner, also owned by Jewish Atlantans, offers chicken soup and corned beef sandwiches along with an array of standard lunch fare. Don’t forget to pick up a pumpkin bread to take home. Need a pick-me-up? Crema is a coffee shop with a killer smoked salmon bagel with all the fixings, including cream cheese, capers, red onion, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, and a lemon wedge.

Souper Jenny
4274 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
(404) 968-9361
Neighborhood: Brookhaven

Souper Jenny
130 West Paces Ferry Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 295-6761
Neighborhood: Buckhead

Souper Jenny
589 Atlanta St
Roswell, GA 30075
(404) 237-7687
Neighborhood: Roswell

Souper Jenny
1082 Huff Rd NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 603-9977
Neighborhood: West Midtown

Breadwinner Cafe & Bakery
220 Sandy Springs Cir.
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(404) 843-0024
Neighborhood: Sandy Springs
Note: Its sister restaurant is Farm to Ladle with locations at Avalon and Ponce City Market.

Crema Cafe
2458 Mount Vernon Rd.
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(678) 731-9020
Neighborhood: Dunwoody

When a mother, a daughter, and a kosher cheese shop owner all got together, they came up with The Spicy Peach, a one-stop shop for kosher sauces, oils, spices, cheeses, pasta, and more. There’s gifts, holiday items, and a panini and salad selection called Peach Pit. Don’t see what you need? They’ll special order it for you. If you stop by the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, don’t miss Pickles ‘n’ Pudding, a small company created by a 6th grader and 9th grader who love to cook. On the menu? Half-sours, full-sours, and whiskey sour pickles, as well as banana cream and chocolate puddings.

The Spicy Peach
2887 N. Druid Hills Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 334-7200
Neighborhood: Toco Hills
*This business is kosher.

Pickles and Pudding
Sandy Spring Farmers Market
Neighborhood: Sandy Springs
(404) 425-0306

Mention FuegoMundo in a room full of Atlantan Jews and you’re sure to get quite the reaction. Though the food itself is decidedly not Jewish (think wood-fired meat, chicken, and vegetables with plantain chips and yucca fries), the local Jewish community has fully embraced it. Maybe it’s the flavorful FuegoMundo sauce, or the fact that the restaurant is kosher. Or maybe it’s the abundance of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and hormone-free options. Either way, this Latin American restaurant has become a Prado shopping center hotspot. Stop by for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch. A full kids menu is available, too.

FuegoMundo
5590 Roswell Rd.
Sandy Springs, GA 30342
(404) 256-4330
Neighborhood: Sandy Springs
*This restaurant is kosher.

The Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival is an annual event presented by the Hebrew Order of David International. It features amateurs and pros alike serving brisket, beef ribs, chicken, and chili made with kosher ingredients. Participants compete for a trophy, and attendees purchase taste tickets to sample the fruit — or in this case, meat — of their labor. In the fall, the Marcus Jewish Community Center hosts the Sukkot Farm to Table Festival featuring chef demonstrations, garden workshops, a farmers market, and food vendors. There’s usually a petting zoo and face painting for kids, too. Founded by the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival is designed to promote Jewish and Israeli food, music, and culture.

Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival
Held annually in the fall.

Sukkot Farm to Table Festival
Held annually in the fall.

Atlanta Jewish Life Festival
Held annually in the winter.

 

 

With input and insight from local experts Julia Levy (Schusterman Family Foundation) and Marshall Sunshine (local expert).

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